In a recent NPR interview, ACLU Michigan attorney Miriam Aukerman stated she believes that sex offender registries should be abolished. In support of that belief, Aukerman stated that registries are ineffective and make society less safe.
Aukerman criticized both legislators and law enforcement for the current challenges now facing registrants. Legislators have passed and keep passing new laws because they believe doing so will help them to get re-elected. Law enforcement spends time and money monitoring people convicted of a sex offense when they should be monitoring those who actually pose a danger to society. If registries cannot be abolished, they should be reduced by removing all children and by shortening the amount of time individuals should be required to register, according to the ACLU attorney.
Aukerman also discussed the current status of Michigan sex offender laws which were declared unconstitutional by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016. Despite that ruling, the state of Michigan has failed to modify its sex offender laws.
According to the ACLU attorney, she and others are negotiating with the Michigan state legislature about changes to the state’s sex offender laws. Because the Court has retained jurisdiction of the case, it could issue an injunction preventing enforcement of the state’s sex offender laws if the legislature does not act quickly.
In the closing of the radio interview, Aukerman posed an important question for the public to consider: do you want to be mad (that someone has already been sexually assaulted) or do you want to be safe (from a future sexual assault)? She then added, “if you want to be safe, you don’t want a registry.”